London, 1 July 2014 – Efforts to ensure effective and durable protection against underage recruitment in Chad must not be relaxed after the UN Secretary-General announces today the delisting of the Chadian armed forces in his annual report on children and armed conflict.

This is why, in partnership with UNICEF, Child Soldiers International has published and disseminated a booklet entitled: “A child must not be a soldier!” intended to promote awareness of existing laws and policies banning child recruitment in Chad, and to mobilise military, administrative and judicial authorities, as well as Chadian civil society and international actors, to take an active part in preventing this practice.

Prior to their removal from the lists of the UN Secretary-General’s annual report, the Chadian armed forces had been listed for five consecutive years as a party recruiting and using children in hostilities.

The delisting is based on the fact that, in 2013, the Chadian government made significant progress to address the issue of child recruitment in its armed forces, and to realise its commitments under the Action Plan on children associated with armed forces and groups, signed with the UN in 2011. However, the Secretary-General’s report highlights that “a number of challenges remained to ensure sustainability and the effective prevention of violations against children”.

Child Soldiers International had recently warned that children continued to be at risk of recruitment in Chad, and that measures recently adopted needed to be operationalised, adequately resourced and followed up. In particular Child Soldiers International recommended that the government of Chad, with the support of the UN, continue to carry out screening of all armed forces to identify and release any under-18s, develop and implement effective age verification methods, and continue to train all military and civilian personnel involved in military recruitment.

These recommendations were reflected in the UN Secretary-General’s report, which specifically advises Chad to comprehensively screen and train its armed forces and to strengthen its recruitment procedures.

Similarly, during the UN Security Council debate on children and armed conflict in March this year, the Chadian government recognised that the measures recently taken “need to be consolidated daily in order to be sustainable and to avoid a backsliding.”

With this objective in mind, Child Soldiers International has produced (jointly with UNICEF) anawareness-raising booklet, in French and Chadian Arabic, to support and amplify the government’s prevention efforts. The document compiles applicable international and national legislation prohibiting the recruitment and use of children, and summarises the main measures taken by the Chadian government to prevent this practice.

“We welcome the steps taken by Chad to prevent child recruitment. These measures need to be effectively operationalised, while monitoring on their implementation needs to continue to ensure the gains are sustainable” says Richard Clarke, Director at Child Soldiers International.

More information

The booklet was presented and distributed to members of the armed and security forces during a workshop in N’Djamena on 21-22 May 2014. Also attending the workshop were representatives of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Social Affairs and Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, as well as UN agencies, Chadian human rights organisations and international NGOs. Participants learned about the legal framework intended to protect children from recruitment in Chad, and all together they planned a series of awareness-raising, training and advocacy activities designed to involve all levels of society in prevention. The booklet can also be used to educate and involve parents, teachers, doctors, religious leaders and the media to help end the recruitment and use of children by armed forces and armed groups.

An interactive version of the booklet (in French) can be explored on our website and hard copies are available in French and Chadian Arabic.

Child Soldiers International, Chad: Briefing on the status of implementation of the 2011 Action Plan on children associated with armed forces and groups and its 10-Point Roadmap, March 2014.

Child Soldiers International, Press release: Chad: Too early to claim victory – more needs to be done to eradicate child recruitment, March 2014.

For more information contact Child Soldiers International at +44 (0) 20 7367 4112